John Rabbit's palace under ground Was once by Goody Weasel found. She, sly of heart, resolved to seize The place, and did so at her ease. She took possession while its lord Was absent on the dewy sward,
It's often from chance opinion takes its rise, And into reputation multiplies. This prologue finds pat applications In men of all this world's vocations; For fashion, prejudice, and party strife, Conspire to crowd poor justice out of life.
A trader on the sea to riches grew; Freight after freight the winds in favour blew; Fate steered him clear; gulf, rock, nor shoal Of all his bales exacted toll. Of other men the powers of chance and storm Their dues collected in substantial form;
Two cocks in peace were living, when A war was kindled by a hen. O love, you bane of Troy! It was thine The blood of men and gods to shed Enough to turn the Xanthus red As old Port wine!
Who joins not with his restless race To give Dame Fortune eager chase? O, had I but some lofty perch, From which to view the panting crowd Of care-worn dreamers, poor and proud, As on they hurry in the search,
A dead man going slowly, sadly, To occupy his last abode, A curate by him, rather gladly, Did holy service on the road. Within a coach the dead was borne, A robe around him duly worn, Of which I wot he was not proud— That ghostly garment called a shroud.
A pot of milk on her cushioned crown, Good Peggy hastened to the market town; Short clad and light, with speed she went, Not fearing any accident; Indeed, to be the nimbler tripper, Her dress that day,
On a sandy, uphill road, Which naked in the sunshine glowed, Six lusty horses drew a coach. Dames, monks, and invalids, its load, On foot, outside, at leisure trode. The team, all weary, stopped and blowed: Whereon there did a fly approach, And, with a vastly business air.